“Fathers, be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do.”
Even as a child, I was very aware of the tension between my parents, so I’m pretty familiar with the uncomfortable. I remember being woken up in the middle of the night by my mother to go hunt down my father at his girlfriend’s place. I’d sit in the car while they fought, thinking of how pointless all of it was while my mother begged and pleaded with my father to leave his mistress and come home. Even then, I often asked myself, “why does she bother?” Pleading with a man to love you is the most embarrassing thing a woman can do. Why make a fool out of yourself? Why would you want to take someone back into your home after they’ve humiliated and dishonored you? Most girls want to marry a man like their father, but like most things everyone else wants, I want the opposite.
This isn’t one of those “woe is me, I have daddy issues” blogs. I don’t have daddy issues, but like most families, we have certain things that don’t sit well – at least with me. As I’m getting older, I’m starting to realize the effect they have on me. The cycle keeps on rolling out, generation after generation, and by watching other families, I’m starting to fully grasp everything for what it is.
My father is the self-righteous type. He never thinks he’s wrong and if I even as so much voice my hurt, I’m immediately labeled as the wrong one or told I’m imagining things. I’ve never doubted my father’s love for me, as it has always been evident, but I resent his absence of thought when it comes to the things that mean the most to me. My concerns are usually laughed off as a minor inconvenience. Over the past six years, we started to repair our rocky relationship. I never enjoyed spending time with him as a child, but now I sometimes feel like he understands me more than most people to a certain extent. I love hanging out with him and we can laugh about silly things like there’s no tomorrow. I get my love of music from him and I’m glad I have at least one parent to talk music with, but sadly, that’s kind of where it ends. From the outside looking in, I guess you could say we have a somewhat normal relationship but I find myself trying to crack open parts that he doesn’t want to be bothered with. The older I get, I’m realizing that I want him in my life more. After watching the passing of a loved one’s father, I have a better understanding of time and how precious it can be. That person’s father was no match with mine, but he’s still my father and I do love him. I never wanted to be around my dad until I was in my twenties, so now, whenever he lets me down, I feel like I should have felt when I was 5 years old. I guess it all catches up to you somehow.
My father is full of secrets. There is so much about him that I don’t know. He hides so much and it makes me feel uneasy yet when I think about it, he doesn’t know much about me either. He has no idea of all of the times I’ve been heartbroken, or about my depression in high school, or about the things that make me come alive. In my last relationship, I opened up everything to my ex thinking he understood me only to have it twisted and thrown back in my face to make me feel and look like a shitty person. I saw pieces of my father in myself then. I never want to feel that way again, but it made me realize that my father, whether he wants to admit it or not, is afraid. I am afraid. My father and I have a lot in common, but I’m proud to say that I do not love like him. I do not want to be afraid like him either.
They say children will grow up to emulate their parents. While I do believe that notion to be true, I also believe that we have the power to see wrongness at an early age and decide to stray away from it. I never want to be someone who cheats and lies. It’s never been who I am. I look at the fathers of my friends and think of how lucky they are to have good fatherly figures in their lives. They remind their daughters every day of what they’re worth. Mine never said anything like that to me. I have my mother to thank for that. How we are raised plays a major part in our well-being. Good men are hard to come by, and the ones I do encounter are all the products of good fathers. I’m terrified to ever confess my feelings to guys like that, terrified of their response. Oddly enough, in the past, I had no problem telling guys who had fathers like mine how I felt, and I was treated like garbage in the process. Go figure.
My mother was recently telling me stories about her father, whom I never got to meet, as he died when I was only an infant. What a man. I wish I knew him so I could see how a real man is supposed to treat others, especially women, but all I’ve seen seems to be a figment of my imagination. All I’ve seen is selfishness. Men who take but never give. I’m always on the receiving end of pain. I’ll never understand why we do the things we do when it is so opposite of our nature, but I know that I am more aware of who I let into my life now after my last boyfriend deceived me on so many levels. I’m very observant, and I saw a few red lights early on, yet I proceeded anyway. Funny thing is, he had an excellent father. That just goes to show the power of straying from morality.
I want to know what it feels like to be kissed, held and loved the right way – not because some guy thinks he’s going to score if he follows what women want. I see my father in so many guys and in turn, it makes me believe that they are all the same. I just want one to really show me that they are not all the same, and to make the effort to prove it to me, as long as it takes, no matter the distance. I don’t blame my father for anything that has gone wrong in my life, but I just wish he were more accountable…like a real man should be.
While I wish things could be different, over the years I’ve learned that people only change when something awakens inside of them. I can’t change who my father is, but I can love him through all of his shortcomings and know for sure that he does indeed love me. He just has a funny way of showing it. It is never too late for an awakening, but I’m not sure it’s in the cards for my dad.
“Oh, you see that skin? It’s the same she’s been standing in, since the day she saw him walking away. Now she’s left cleaning up the mess he made.”